A “considerable offer” has been tabled by the UK government in a bid to break the deadlock with the Welsh Government over a key Brexit law.
It would see most powers in devolved areas, which currently run at an EU-level, head from Brussels to Cardiff.
It comes ahead of a meeting of UK, Welsh and Scottish ministers on Thursday.
But the Welsh Government said the UK government’s publication of the proposals was “unhelpful”.
Sources from both sides have told BBC Wales that they were not expecting an agreement to be reached on Thursday, but that progress was being made.
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If passed by Parliament, the EU Withdrawal Bill will place EU law on the UK statute book after Brexit.
Both devolved administrations have accused UK ministers of a “power-grab” over the legislation, in a dispute over the return of powers in devolved areas from Brussels after Brexit.
As the bill stands, powers that are in devolved areas but operated at an EU-level would return to the UK government, which would then, in turn, decide which powers go to Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Under the new proposals, the majority of these powers would head directly to the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.
However, some would be kept in Westminster, a measure the UK government has said was needed to “protect our vital UK internal market”.
In February, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said he was “more optimistic” a deal could be reached.
Since then, UK, Welsh and Scottish government officials have been working behind the scenes in an attempt to find a compromise.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Mr Lidington said: “The proposal that we have put on the table is a considerable offer that I hope the devolved administrations will engage with constructively.”
He added: “All sides agree certain areas will require common frameworks – and it’s therefore imperative that we don’t make life more difficult for businesses and families across the UK as we manage the process of bringing new powers back from the EU.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We will go to the… meeting intent on protecting the devolution settlement and engaging in meaningful talks, despite the unhelpful approach of the UK government.”
BBC Wales also understands that the Welsh Government is in a position to introduce a so-called Continuity Bill designed to protect Welsh powers to the assembly in the coming weeks.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is the UK’s largest in terms of assets with £60bn worth, four times the size of the British Steel Pension Scheme.
Staff are angry at plans to change scheme – arguing they could end up with a less favourable pension pot when they retire.
WHAT IS THE ROW ABOUT?
At present, the staff are in a scheme that mixes what are called defined benefits and defined contribution pensions.
All those earning up to £55,000 a year see pension contributions from that pay put into a defined benefits pot. That guarantees a fixed pension pay-out when they finally finish work.
For those who earn over £55,000, pension contributions go into the defined contributions pot.
This pot is more volatile – as the amount of pension you get back will depend on the money markets on the day you retire.
The proposed changes would see all payments placed in the defined contributions pot in the future.
The striking academics say this puts them and their pension cash at risk.
Without the changes being proposed, USS said it would have a £7.5bn deficit.
This only affects what happens with future funds from April this year as all previous savings are legally protected.
The UCU’s members include lecturers and other “academic-related” staff such as researchers and librarians.
UCU and UUK blame each other for the deadlock, which it is feared could drag out into the exam period if not resolved.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “While UCU is working hard to resolve the dispute if we can, what we have from Universities UK is obfuscation and delay.”
A spokesman for Universities UK said the proposed changes would make USS secure and sustainable.
He said: “University staff will still have a valuable pension scheme, with employer contributions of 18% of salary, double the private sector average… UUK remains at the negotiating table, but so far UCU has refused to engage on how best to address the funding challenges facing USS.”
The USS scheme is only used by older universities such as Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Bangor, and some staff at the University of Wales office in Cardiff.
Swansea University staff are also in the USS but their ballot did not meet the minimum 50% turnout required by the Trade Union Act 2016.
Universities set up after 1992, many of which evolved from polytechnics, use the Teachers Pension Scheme which is state funded, whereas the USS is funded by member universities and the staff.
Bangor University said it was keen for a rapid negotiated settlement to the dispute, and was doing everything it could to reduce any possible impact by the strike but the university remained open.
Aberystwyth University said its focus was on “safeguarding students’ learning experience”, and that UUK was leading negotiations and it respected the right of individual members of staff to go on strike.
A Cardiff University spokesman said it was doing everything possible to ensure there is minimal impact on teaching and learning.
But there had been a “catch-up” on austerity in the Welsh library sector in recent years, he said.
“What we see is, the libraries are open and they are managing to try and be at the heart of their communities,” Mr Whiteman said.
“But, on the whole, probably the type of advice that [people] can get there and what’s on offer declines.”
Mr Whiteman added that volunteers brought a “huge amount” to libraries and many would have shut without them.
There were about 155 professionally qualified library staff in Wales in 2016-17, with the latest CIPFA figures suggesting some 290 library points remain open.
Beddau library, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, was saved by a community group after it was closed by the council four years ago.
Trustee chairwoman Julie Barton said having trained staff alongside volunteers was vital for a library’s survival.
The CIPFA figures also showed there was a £3.9m drop in the overall spend in Welsh libraries last year, with Mr Whiteman suggesting a “whole clutch of libraries” could go if cuts continue at the current pace.
The Welsh Local Government Association said “continual budget cuts” from central government meant councils had to consider “different and innovative” new ways to deliver services, including working with communities to keep libraries open.
Currently, dog owners are not required to report if their dog attacks any livestock and they are not treated as recordable crimes on police systems.
As part of the NPCC report, North Wales Police led a six-month trial last year aimed at improving the recording of these attacks, which involved four other forces – Devon and Cornwall, Sussex, Hertfordshire and North Yorkshire.
The study found North Wales Police recorded 648 livestock were killed and 376 were injured between 2013-17.
It led to 52 dogs being shot – the highest number of the five forces. The second highest was North Yorkshire Police, which logged 16 shot dogs.
Hertfordshire Constabulary recorded just one incident.
In total, there were 1,705 cases of livestock worrying – dogs attacking or chasing animals – logged in the five force areas.
But Rob Taylor, who heads North Wales Police’s rural crime team, said the true number of attacks could be much higher.
“Unless the owner of the dog admits it or the dog is seen attacking livestock, it’s very difficult to get a conviction,” he said.
“The problem has been the farming community and the public have not had the confidence to report it.”
He emphasised these attacks could not only have a “traumatic” affect on farmers but could impact on their livelihood.
Dyfed-Powys Police has spoken out in support of the report, saying it would “benefit both the victims of these offences and the officers investigating them”.
Ch Con David Jones, NPCC lead for wildlife and rural crime, said: “We need the powers to tackle this problem effectively and an overhaul of the outdated and sometimes ineffective rules surrounding livestock worrying.”
Lord Gardiner, minister for animal welfare, said: “The report makes a number of recommendations and proposals for improvements to the legislation which I will be looking at closely.”
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said it had made “significant improvement”.
Janet Wallsgrove, G4S director for Parc, said the report “recognised the considerable work done to address the shortfalls” from the last inspection.
The report said 44% of offenders at the juvenile unit run by security firm G4S said they had been victimised by staff, while 63% of the 43 boys said they had been victimised – twice the average – and 37% said they had been hit, kicked or assaulted.
The watchdog said although violence was falling, it remained “too high” and Parc should “address poor perceptions of safety and victimisation”.
The report, following a visit in October 2017, said the unit had introduced initiatives to “address these concerns” and the inspector recommended it should survey boys at Parc, their families, carers and visitors about bullying concerns “to reduce the number of incidents”.
Peter Clarke, HM chief inspector of prisons, welcomed work by the management to “turn around” standards.
“At our last visit we were disappointed to see some deterioration, with the institution becoming less safe and less respectful,” he said.
“At this inspection, however, it was clear to us that, with good leadership and a re-energised staff group, deterioration had been arrested and indeed quite significant improvement was evident.”
The inspector also praised “fundamentally successful” prisons at Usk and Prescoed in Monmouthshire.
The report said Usk – which housed 274 men, nearly all of whom were sex offenders – and Prescoed open prison, which housed 252 men, were safe with very little violence and the most vulnerable men were “generally well cared for”.
Putting up the cost of alcohol could lead some homeless people to cheap and illegal drugs, a charity has warned.
Welsh ministers are planning to set a minimum price for alcohol sales as they believe tackling excessive drinking could save a life a week and mean 1,400 fewer hospital admissions a year.
But Richard Edwards of the Huggard Centre fears new policy “may simply change one addiction for another”.
However, the Welsh Government said the risk was considered low.
Evidence given by South Wales Police to an assembly health committee inquiry into the proposed new law noted that illegal synthetic psychoactive drugs like Spice can be bought for between £5 and £10 a gram.
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Staff at the Huggard Centre, a Cardiff-based homelessness charity, is concerned that the law change currently being considered by the Welsh Assembly could affect “Wales’ most vulnerable people”.
“Minimum alcohol pricing may have a positive overall impact on health, and may reduce alcohol related crime across Wales,” said chief executive Mr Edwards.
“But for some of Wales’ most vulnerable people, who are already struggling with an alcohol addiction, it may push them towards cheap and readily available illegal drugs.”
He said a minimum price for alcohol would mean some living on the streets would need to find extra money to meet their addiction.
“Raising pricing alone, for legal drugs such as alcohol, may simply change one addiction for another and condemn people to a more entrenched and desperate life on the streets,” he added.
Although the Welsh Government has not yet decided what the price will be, under a 50p-a-unit formula, a typical litre of vodka, for example, would have to cost more than £20.
If the proposed legislation passes, the new scheme could come into force by the summer of 2019.
The Welsh Government said that the “risk of consumers switching to illegal drugs or new psychoactive substances as a result of an increase in the minimum price of alcohol is considered low”.
A spokesman said: “An illegal or untested substance is clearly qualitatively different to the legal consumption of alcohol and there is little evidence of the extent of such behaviour.
“However, we understand there are concerns and this is something we are exploring further with Welsh Government’s Advisory panel on Substance Misuse, who have agreed to look into this issue.”
“Minimum unit pricing is not intended to work in isolation; it will form part of, and complement, our wider Substance Misuse Strategy,” the spokesman added.